After President Trump blamed “both sides” for the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia – in which the so-called alt-right gathered for a “Unite the Right” rally – many GOP lawmakers spoke out against the Republican leader. But not nearly enough, John Oliver insisted on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight: The show tabulated that, out of 292 GOP members of Congress, only 54 have condemned Trump directly. “In the words of the poet Beyoncé and the other ones,” Oliver cracked, “‘Say his name, say his name.'”
On August 15th, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan tweeted that “white supremacy is repulsive” but didn’t criticize Trump specifically. “Come on, you can mention him!” Oliver said. “He’s not Voldemort! He’s just a terrifying entity who viciously attacks his enemies and judges people based on their birthright. You know what, I hear it now. I do hear it now.”
But even if the majority of GOP lawmakers have failed to speak out against Trump, condemnation did come from some “unexpected places.” Last week, key members of a White House advisory council voted to disband, with several notable business leaders – both Republican and Democrat – criticizing the president.
Denise Morrison, President and CEO of Campbell’s Soup, issued a statement saying, “Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville. I believe the President should have been – and still needs to be – unambiguous on that point.”
“Wow,” Oliver said, holding back a laugh. “When you become CEO of Campbell’s Soup, you don’t not expect to bhave to start your public statements with the words, ‘Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible.’ You expect to start them by saying, ‘Yes, we’re very sorry, but again: You’re the one eating clam chowder from a can.'”